Naevius, Gnaeus

Naevius, Gnaeus

(nī`əs nē`vəs), c.264–195 B.C., Roman poet and dramatist. Born in Campania, he served in the first Punic War (264–241 B.C.), which he evoked in De Bello Punico. Now only available in fragments, this work is considered the first Latin epic. In his plays, Naevius satirized Roman society from the perspective of a plebeian. Forced to leave Rome, he retired to Utica in Africa.

Naevius, Gnaeus


Born circa 270 B.C.; died circa 201 B.C. Roman poet. Fought in the First Punic War.

Naevius began his literary career by imitating the Greek tragedy. Later he became the first to write praetextae, tragedies on national subjects. Naevius also laid the foundations of Roman national comedy; when translating Greek comedies, he imparted a Roman flavor and political topicality. He was the first to use contamination. Naevius compiled the Roman national historical epic Carmen belli poenici (The Song of the Punic War), comprising seven books and written in Saturnian meter. The works of Naevius survive in fragments.


In E. H. Warmington. Remains of Old Latin, vol. 2. London, 1936.


Tronskii, I. M. Istoriia antichnoi literatury, 3rd ed. Leningrad, 1957.